This course is a survey of “Western Civilization” from prehistory to 1500. In the lectures, we will trace the evolution of humans, their prehistory, major migrations, and various civilizations from Mesopotamia to Persia to Northern Africa to Europe. In doing so, we will analyze cosmologies and religious change, especially the development of monotheistic belief systems, the rise and fall of empires, and the impact of cross-cultural exchanges among the peoples of Europe, Africa, and Asia. Each week you will read and discuss selections from texts which reflect the main themes of the course and provide examples of various perspectives from history.
At the end of this course, you will have a basic comprehension of the timeline of “Western Civilization”. Using this information, you will be able to answer the following question: “What is ‘Western Civilization’, and what are its strengths and weaknesses as a conceptual narrative?” Secondly, you will also develop the skills to comprehend, interpret, analyze, and compare historical documents and material culture. Finally, you will be able to think more historically and develop a stronger sense of yourself and your community as historical actors.